February 17th, 2008
Bet of a Lifetime
By John Ensslin
SPJ Membership Coordinator Linda Hall told the SPJ membership committee in January that she had sold a lifetime membership to one A.B. Feuer, a retired journalist and author from Virginia.
That would be the first one purchased since the $1,000 for a lifetime membership was announced late last year.
On learning that Mr. Feuer is in his 80s, she gently joked with him that “I’m probably going to win this bet.”
But the Gardener thinks “Bud” Feuer has placed a winning wager. He has bet on the future of journalism and upon SPJ as the way to ensure that future. It’s a good bet.
Curious about the man, the Gardener asked Rekha Raman, one of our volunteer Garden Center bloggers, to interview Mr. Feuer and tell us a bit more about him. Here is her report:
Profile of Mr. Bud Feuer
I was given an online introduction to Bud by Linda Hall, the membership coordinator of SPJ. Following that, I had a telephone interview with Bud, as known by his friends, and had a very friendly conversation with this pleasant gentleman, who is in his early eighties, active and still immersed in the field of journalism.
Bud Feuer is a retired journalist, who has been an esteemed member of the SPJ for about 15 years, and in the past year opted for the lifetime membership which costs $1000. He thought with his advancing years, purchasing the lifetime membership would be an advantage as he wouldn’t have to worry about renewing his membership from time to time.
He was motivated to join SPJ because the organization enables him to network with other members and also learn the latest writing tools used in journalism. He gets to talk to other people from SPJ and gets updates on the latest events and new topics coming up in the journalistic field.
Mr. Feuer was a war journalist, and worked for the Chicago Tribune for a number of years, in northern Indiana. He started off as a paperboy and worked his way up into the field of journalism.
During the course of his career, in the 1940s, he got to meet the legendary Tribune Editor and Publisher Colonel Robert McCormick as well as other famous writers of that era.
At that time, as a young journalist he was on call 24 hours a day and unraveled some of the most amazing stories of the times, and says that how stories were covered was much different from what journalism is today.
He used to be a feature writer, but now writes primarily for magazines, mostly on history. He has written at least 500 magazine articles on war and unusual historical facts.
Mr. Feuer has 50 years experience in the newspaper, magazine and book business. After retiring in 1985, Bud moved with his family to Roanoke, VA and spends his time writing and researching.
He says writing is a great mental exercise and “is good for the rest of the body too.” The knowledge accumulated over the years from his career as a journalist thralls his mind even now, and the facts bring back the nostalgia of his passion.
He gives talks to universities, schools and different service organizations. The audiences find his experiences awesome and eye-opening.
Bud has published several books and magazines which can be found on his website, www.abfeuer.com, and have appeared such magazines as “Sea Classics” and “The Artilleryman.”
His books include such titles as “Packs On! – Memoirs of the 10th Mountain Division in WWII” and “FDR’s Prisoner Spy – The Bilibid Diary the Commander Thomas Haynes, U.S.N.”
Bud is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He was recently presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the University of Notre Dame.
Garden Center Tip of the Week
When the new $1,000 Lifetime SPJ membership was approved in October at the SPJ National Convention, I calculated that such a deal in my case would pay for itself in 2019, around the time that I turn 65.
(I can only hope that by then, I’m half as sharp and productive a writer as Bud Feuer.)
Bud’s example, however, made me realize that perhaps I’ve been looking at the equation the wrong way.
While it was not necessarily the intent behind the new deal, the lifetime membership can be viewed as a kind of living bequest or a way for longtime members to say, “This is how much I value being a member of SPJ.”
Perhaps if we were to market it as a means to express that sentiment, we’ll be surprised to see how many more “Buds” will bloom.
SPJ by the numbers
Membership this week 9,119
Membership one month ago 9,040
Membership one year ago 9,003